Google patches rare critical vulnerability in Chrome

Sandbox escape vulnerability disclosed at CanSecWest was patched in Chrome 17.0.963.78

Google has patched a critical Chrome vulnerability disclosed Wednesday at the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver that can be exploited to escape from a browser's secure sandbox.

Russian security researcher Sergey Glazunov demonstrated a remote code-execution (RCE) exploit against a fully patched version of Chrome on Windows 7 as part of Google's Pwnium contest held at the conference..

Glazunov's exploit leveraged two Chrome vulnerabilities -- one that allows the execution of arbitrary code and one that bypasses the browser's much-touted security sandbox, which normally restricts such exploits.

Remote code-execution vulnerabilities, while very serious, are relatively common in all software products. However, the sandbox escape ones are extremely rare and, according to TippingPoint, which runs the separate Pwn2Own contest at CanSecWest, are worth much more than the US$60,000 Glazunov earned from Google for reporting it.

Both vulnerabilities leveraged by Glazunov's exploit were fixed in Google Chrome 17.0.963.78, which was released on Thursday.

"We had the first successful exploit at Pwnium yesterday, and today we've already rolling out an update to protect our users," said Sundar Pichai, Google's senior vice president for Chrome, on Thursday via his Google+ account. "The team took less than 24 hours from initial report to verification to fix development to getting a fix out."

Because of the Chrome's auto-update feature, users just need to restart their browsers in order to deploy the security fix. Organizations can deploy the important update by using the Google Update for enterprise policy.

Glazunov's was not the only Chrome sandbox escape exploit demoed at CanSecWest. A team of researchers from French security vendor VUPEN presented a similar attack as part of TippingPoint' Pwn2Own contest.

However, the Pwn2Own rules don't require researchers to disclose sandbox-escape vulnerabilities to vendors, primarily because the prize money wouldn't justify their disclosure. This means that there is still one highly critical Chrome vulnerability out there that remains unpatched.

The Chrome security team suspects that it's located in the Flash Player plug-in bundled with the browser by default and not in Chrome's own code. There is no confirmation from VUPEN regarding this theory, but if true, the task of patching the vulnerability would fall with Adobe Systems.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Lucian Constantin

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?